by the Rev. Christopher Potter, Vicar
Peace and grace to you from God, our provider and source of blessings.
Last week, I had a wonderful, heart-healing conversation with Bishop Taylor about what has transpired at St. John’s over the past two years. The confluence of pandemic, crises in the school, and numerous unplanned transitions, left many of us tired, sad, and concerned about our future. With fewer people coming to church on Sundays and financial support waning, it might be easy to give in to despair. However, hearing acknowledgement from the Bishop of the severity of these things was immediately transformative. I know of his deep fondness for this place and the deep investment he has here. His love for you, for us, has continued unabated.
Something I learned in my meeting with him was that there are some parishes in the Diocese that have not only seen people returning to the worship services on Sunday/Saturday, but also a great influx of new people showing up in these parishes with enthusiasm and curiosity. It is not universal, but those parishes who stuck together during their exile – even if held together by ZOOM – are seeing an observable increase in their attendance. The Bishop is curious himself about what manner of things could account for this, but the clear statement being made by the people who are returning/showing up is that the church still has validity and purpose in our world.
This gives us, the Community of St. John’s, a clear message: the Spirit of God, the spirit of trust and healing, is calling us to come home. We have been in near-constant communication together in the last two years; with ZOOM on Sundays and weekdays for prayer, on the phone, in-person, from people in hospitals and nursing facilities. Rev. Karen and I have heard repeated pleas for the return to communal in-person worship. We are also seeing many new people come into our hallowed sanctuary for the first time.
We have moved cautiously towards the goal of ‘full return’ over the last months. We do not use a common cup for communion, holy water founts are dry, and the exchange of peace is at times a bit awkward as some shake hands, some give fist bumps, and some bow from across the room. Even today, we are being warned about a potential spike in COVID cases in California. Yet, the desire and readiness to come together is emerging.
If you have this drive, this movement of the Holy Spirit within you, I ask you to indulge Her as you can. Come join us on Saturday night at 5 p.m. or Sunday morning at 10 a.m. for Eucharist. If you wish to be online and haven’t done so in a while, please join us on ZOOM for that on Sunday.
We are not the people who will just fade away — though we were only recently attending church from home in our pajamas, with coffee and a bowl of cereal. We are the people Bishop John imagines to be a force majeure for the Holy Spirit in the Diocese of Los Angeles, and whom he continues to hold close. Let’s be the 10 percenters who respond eagerly to the call to return to communal worship and to the service of the Gospel of Jesus.
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We’ll see you at St. John’s this weekend:
• Saturday worship at 5 p.m. in the Chapel; potluck following
• Sunday worship at 10 a.m., in-person and on ZOOM (Sunday’s 8 a.m. service will resume September 18)
• Godly Play and Nursery at 10 a.m.
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We’ll see you at St. John’s!